The Withered Right Hand #5

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (Luke 6:6 KJV).

What can this account of the withered right hand teach us?

Israel’s Sabbath-Day observance was to remind them of the Creation Week, their role in God’s purpose and plan for creation (recall Exodus 20:8-11). They were God’s earthly people, and obligated to keep the Law of Moses, of which the Sabbath was the sign. By deliberately performing a miracle on Saturday, Jesus was pointing to His Millennial Reign, what the Sabbath previewed (cf. Hebrews 4:1-10). Israel would be restored to service! Every week, the Jews were to meditate on God’s Word, the Hebrew Bible, and be mindful of the LORD’S will for them. Alas, they became too preoccupied with their religious works. They were therefore unable to appreciate Christ healing the withered right hand on the Sabbath!

“And looking round about upon them all, he [Christ] said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness [insanity!]; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus (Luke 6:10,11). “Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him (Matthew 12:13,14). “And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him (Mark 3:5,6).

Here is the callousness or mercilessness of people obsessed with religion; they rejoice not in God’s deliverance of suffering sinners. After seeing Christ heal the man, they are outraged He has broken their religious rule, and thus begin plotting Jesus’ execution! Saints, may we not be foolish as they were. Let us have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe the value of the withered right hand made whole! 🙂

The Withered Right Hand #4

Monday, April 12, 2021

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (Luke 6:6 KJV).

What can this account of the withered right hand teach us?

Today’s Scripture (cf. Matthew 12:10; Mark 3:2) says it was the Saturday Sabbath. JEHOVAH God had given Israel the Fourth Commandment through Moses, chapter 20 of Exodus: “[8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Through the centuries after Moses, Israel began to move away from the written Law of Moses and emphasize the so-called “oral” Law of Moses. In fact, rather than worshipping the LORD on the Sabbath, the Jews were worshipping the Sabbath itself. According to rabbinical tradition, unless concerning a life-threatening situation, medical aid was not to be rendered on the Sabbath. Therefore, when a man with a withered right hand appeared in a synagogue (Jewish place of worship), the local religious leaders saw this as a perfect opportunity to set a trap for Jesus!

“And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him [Christ], saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him” (Matthew 12:10). “And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him” (Mark 3:2). Today’s Scripture in context again: “[6] And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. [7] And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.”

Blinded by their vain religious tradition, apostate Israel refused to see the significance of the withered right hand healed….

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The Withered Right Hand #3

Sunday, April 11, 2021

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (Luke 6:6 KJV).

What can this account of the withered right hand teach us?

Today’s Scripture—Luke—stresses it was the “right” hand, the Bible’s (and universal) symbol of strength or power. Notice this sampling of verses. “Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy” (Exodus 15:6). “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great” (Psalm 18:35). “That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me” (Psalm 60:5). “O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory” (Psalm 98:1).

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10). “And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:29). “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God” (Luke 22:69). “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31). “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1 Peter 3:22).

Whereas the LORD has a mighty right hand, Israel’s right hand is weak and crippled. Yea, nationally and spiritually, she is dehydrated or dried—lifeless. Sin and false religion have done their work well. Now powerless, Israel must rely on the Lord Jesus Christ to restore her to life and service in the Earth….

The Withered Right Hand #2

Saturday, April 10, 2021

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (Luke 6:6 KJV).

What can this account of the withered right hand teach us?

Having looked at Luke’s version and Matthew’s description, we read Mark’s report in chapter 3: “[1] And he [Christ Jesus] entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. [2] And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. [3] And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. [4] And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. [5] And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”

Whether in Matthew, Mark, or Luke, the Lord Jesus heals a man who has a withered right hand. Let us deal with it being “withered” first. “Xeran” is the Greek word in Matthew and Luke; “exerammenen” is Mark’s preferred term. Of course, we can all guess that the man’s hand is dried up or shriveled. In Mark 11:20, the same idea is conveyed when Jesus cursed the fig tree and it “dried up from the roots.” Also, in Revelation 16:12, the Euphrates River is “dried up.” Hebrews 11:29 speaks of the Red Sea drying up for Israel to escape Egyptian bondage in Moses’ day. Taking all these similar ideas and lumping them together, we can define the man’s hand as without any water or other biological “juices.” Water in Scripture, as you might have supposed, symbolizes life. His hand is unable to work properly because it is functionally dead. The hand, of course, pictures ability or power. Moreover, the man himself is a portrait of the nation Israel. God’s nation in the Earth is unable to work His will as intended….

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The Withered Right Hand #1

Friday, April 9, 2021

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (Luke 6:6 KJV).

What can this account of the withered right hand teach us?

Let us read today’s Scripture in context: “[6] And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he [Christ Jesus] entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. [7] And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. [8] But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. [9] Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it? [10] And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”

Matthew’s version, chapter 12: “[9] And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: [10] And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. [11] And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? [12] How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. [13] Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.”

Before we get to explaining the specifics of the withered right hand, we must first consult Mark’s account for additional information. Doctrine is being communicated here, so let us be careful to grasp it….

Glory Days #5

Sunday, March 14, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Today’s Scripture awaits the day when the LORD consoles Zion (Jerusalem). Not only has she suffered the terrible effects of the curse established in Genesis chapter 3, God has judged her for her people’s idolatry. Gentiles have entered her land, ravaging it with war and destruction. Her people have been taken away captive for their transgressions, their disobedience to the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) punished. Read Leviticus 26:27-46.

“And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the LORD, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword” (Amos 7:8,9; Israel’s Assyrian Captivity). “In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished” (Ezekiel 6:6; Judah’s Babylonian Captivity a century later).

However, there is the hope of Israel’s restoration at Christ’s Second Coming: “Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:9,10). “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12).

Earth’s former glory days—the Garden of Eden—will return. When the Lord comes back, the planet will revert to pre-Fall conditions….

Glory Days #4

Saturday, March 13, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Chapter 35 of Isaiah, describing Israel’s Messiah arriving: “[1] The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. [2] It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. [3] Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. [4] Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

“[5] Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. [6] Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. [7] And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. [8] And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. [9] No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: [10] And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

Verses 5 and 6 correspond to Jesus’ healing miracles during His earthly ministry (cf. Matthew 11:2-6). Isaiah also foresees His Second Coming in wrath and glory, judgment and reign. Christ’s return brings major spiritual and geographical changes….

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Impetuous Peter! #11

Sunday, February 28, 2021

And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid (Mark 9:5,6 KJV).

When in doubt, close your mouth!

After wasting their time “fishing in the flesh” and catching nothing, the Apostles meet the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. John chapter 21 informs us they do not recognize Him as He stands on the shore. However, once He directs them to throw their net on the right side, and they catch a multitude of fishes, they suddenly realize who He is! Dragging their heavy net to land, they meet and eat with Him.

“[14] This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. [15] So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. [16] He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. [17] He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

The Lord asked Peter once (verse 15), “Lovest thou me more than these [fish]?” Peter replied in the affirmative; Jesus responded, “Feed my lambs.” Christ asked a second time (verse 16); Peter answered with a “yes.” Jesus again ordered Him, “Feed my sheep.” Christ questioned Peter a third time (verse 17), “Lovest thou me?” Peter—“grieved,” saddened or distressed—blurts out his tenth silly comment: “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” Instead of expressing annoyance, Peter should have shown gratitude for the Lord’s threefold questioning that nullified his thrice denial during His trial….

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Wonderful Things!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? (Matthew 21:14-16 KJV).

The Lord Jesus has just a few days left to live, and He is doing some “wonderful things….”

In “the city of the great King” (Matthew 5:35; Psalm 48:2), the place from which the LORD’S Word should have flowed to the nations (Isaiah 2:3), Herod’s Temple Complex characterized spiritual ignorance and unbelief. To highlight Israel’s condition in conjunction with her Temple—the hub of her false religion—we find in today’s Scripture “the blind and the lame.” Nationally speaking, the Jews can neither see with spiritual eyes nor walk with spiritual legs. God admonished, “Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see” (Isaiah 42:18). The Prophet confessed, “Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets” (Daniel 9:10).

Foreseeing Israel’s national sight restored at Christ’s Second Coming, the Prophet penned, “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness” (Isaiah 29:18). JEHOVAH God promised Israel in that day, “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:27). To prove He was Israel’s Messiah, Jesus performed the miracles of today’s Scripture: “…your God will come… he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart…” (Isaiah 35:4-6).

What will be more marvelous than the physically blind seeing and the lame walking in the Temple, is Israel—long dead, blind, crippled, and cast away—will see and walk again in the Earth! Hallelujah!

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Three Requests #4

Saturday, November 7, 2020

And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not (Luke 8:27,28 KJV).

There are three pleadings in this context. With which one should we align ourselves?

We read the concluding verses: “[38] Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, [39] Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.” Here is the third and final pleading. Formerly possessed with devils (one of his numerous problems), he asks the Lord Jesus if he can accompany Him back to Galilee. This is in stark contrast to his neighbors who have requested Jesus leave their area (cf. verse 37).

Those Jews living east of the Sea of Galilee were reckless in rejecting Christ. However, there was a believer who saw great value in God’s Son. It was the very man who had been delivered from a most pathetic existence. He knew firsthand there was complete victory in Jesus. “Lord, if they are sending You away, please let me come too!” Christ forbids him. Instead, he is advised to stay: “Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee.” He is to remain there to share his testimony with others—and he does. “And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.” To wit, “Listen to what the Son of God in His grace did for me! He saved me from a worthless life that glorified Satan!”

Brethren, while we may long to be with Christ in Heaven, still a fourth beseeching, a far greater (!) beseeching, is, “Lord, let me stay here on Earth, that I may tell others what You in Your grace did for me!” 🙂